The start of a new year is a time to revel in fresh ideas and take stock of what’s working with your website – and what can be left in 2014.
Taking stock of your website may not seem like a big deal, but relevancy and fresh content can give you a competitive edge heading into the new year. It all works together to build trust and add value to the user experience. It’s important to review your website content as a way to start the new year!
Sweep your website cobwebs away
Pack away some of your out-of-date content with your holiday decorations. Sprucing up your site can easily be started by taking the simple step to ensure content is current, including your contact information.
Reviewing content will allow you to evaluate the website structure and if it still meets your website goals and strategy. Focus changes over time; something you posted last January may not be relevant to the work you’re undertaking now. Get the broom out and sweep it away! Assessing the content with a strategy in mind can do wonders for organization.
After scrapping outdated content, de-clutter your website of unnecessary gizmos – especially those appealing sidebar widgets. It’s easy to go crazy on add-ons to the site once you grasp the basics, but it can cause reader confusion which draws attention away from your new-and-improved content. A little sidebar bling is fine, just keep in mind that simple is better most of the time.
The start of a new year is also a good time to make sure content remains accurate and used to its fullest potential. Get rid of misspelled words and link through to social media as much as possible to help spread the word about your posts and content updates.
Break it down with website stats – and go mobile
Reviewing website stats, ideally using Google Analytics, allows you to review which pages are being visited the most. This will give a healthy idea of what visitors are looking for while determining if your website is reaching your target market. Using these stats, you can also see how many visitors are visiting your website from mobile devices. If your website is not responsive for mobile devices, you may be losing visitors. Also, make sure to check your website’s functionality in a different browser – especially the browsers that your visitors are using the most. If you don’t have a stats tracking tool, make it your goal to have Google Analytics installed on your website.
New year, new website content
Now that your website is refreshed, and you have an idea of what visitors are looking for, it’s time to start invigorating it with new content. Regular news updates and blog posts are key to keeping people interested and returning to your website. New ideas often pop up as you’re clearing out old content, so be sure to keep a running list of topic ideas while you’re undertaking your website review. Think about the information your clients ask for: is it included on your site? Don’t be shy when sharing your insight in a constructive way – your experience is what clients crave.
While you’re in the middle of the website review process, ask yourself a few branding questions. Is your website in line with your offline branding? Does it jive with your social media branding? Does it look old and dated? It may be time to think about a new website design to help build your professional brand, improve navigation, add clear call to actions and improve user experience. If your website is in a format that requires you to seek outside help to make updates, you may want to shift to an easy-to-use content management system (CMS), such as WordPress.
Houston… do we have a problem?
One last thing to consider is if your website is actually working the way it is supposed to. Sounds elementary, but take a look at your site from a user perspective. It is easy to navigate? Can you be driven to the content you’re searching for?
Checking for broken links and updating as needed is also crucial for the overall competiveness and user impact of your site. Yes, it’s a bit tedious. However, a better experience on your website translates into improved usability – and that means visitors will stick around and potentially take action. This step also helps with search engine optimization (SEO), which strengthens your browser rank.
At the end of it all, try asking someone with fresh eyes to take a peek at the site and see what suggestions are brought forward. Make it a resolution to review your website content to keep it fresh, meeting your current goals, and ensure users can easily find information. The time spent reviewing each aspect of your website will pay off in loyal followers and more valuable content.
New year – renewed website!
What do you feel is the most important part of reviewing your website? What have you gained from the experience?